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Last updated on April 18, 2014 at 1:21 EDT
Bangwelu Swamps Zambia
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Bangwelu Swamps, Zambia

March 30, 2005

Twenty-two days of flooding from heavy rainfalls in the region have swollen the Bangwelu Swamp south of Lake Bangwelu in northeastern Zambia, as shown in this set of false-color Aqua MODIS images. The top image, acquired March 11, 2005, shows the swamps in their current swollen state, while the mouse-over image from March 19, 2004, shows the swamp as it normally appears. Three hundred people have been displaced from their homes, though luckily no deaths were reported over the 122,660 square kilometers affected.

False-color images such as these often help highlight events that are hard to see in the visible spectrum. Because floodwaters are often clogged with sediment and debris, they tend to blend into the land in true-color imagery, making them hard to see and appreciate. This scene shows the same flood image in true-color, and illustrates how difficult it is to distinguish flooded areas from normal. In the false-color images, water appears black against a bright green background and clearly shows what is land and what is water.